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film reel image

Thursday, June 29, 2023

No Hard Feelings 2023 * * * Stars


It's simple really. In order to embrace 2023's No Hard Feelings, you have to believe that Jennifer Lawrence can transition to a raunchy flick after all her Oscar odds and ends. I think she does. I mean if Whoopi Goldberg could do it on the dramatic side with The Color Purple than well, why not.

Anyway, No Hard Feelings is a sex comedy with no actual sex and a few chuckles. Gene Stupnitsky directs and he was the mind behind Good Boys, another foul-mouthed farce that would make any moviegoer's ears perk up in a naughty way.

So yeah, every vibe in "Feelings" has that American Pie whiff where all on screen (young and old) try to one up each other in the grossness factor. And yes, almost every scene here has some sort of physical comedy that feels a little forced and staged (that's because it is). Finally, every line of dialogue contains innuendo swipe because well, it kind of has to. So did I like No Hard Feelings? I did but for more reasons other than the former.

As a film about an Uber driver who loses her car, has no other method of obtaining additional income, and answers an ad in which she has to date a nerdy type who needs to come out of his shell, "Feelings" has a heart and/or sweet spot when I thought it wasn't about that smoke. I mean I probably paid too much attention to the trailer because No Hard Feelings is not a "hard R", it's a lighthearted R.

Sure we get a little vulgarity and sure, Lawrence's Uber persona Maddie gets full-frontal naked in a beach brawl. But hey, look closer. "Feelings" becomes a movie about eventual friendship and vulnerable characterizations. Good casting, uncut storytelling, and a great performance by a rookie (Andrew Barth Feldman as said nerd Percy) a good flick can sometimes make. Not "hard" to please.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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